CDC Issues Alert over Spike in TB Cases: ‘One of the World’s Leading Infectious Disease Killers’

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert over a spike in the number of tuberculosis cases recorded in America.

The CDC warns that number of U.S. tuberculosis cases in 2023 was the highest in a decade.

In an alert posted on the CDC’s website, the federal agency said that “overall, cases increased from 8,320 in 2022 to 9,615 in 2023, an increase of 1,295 cases”

“The rate also increased from 2.5 per 100,000 persons in 2022 to 2.9 in 2023,” it added.

The CDC notes that numbers were up among all age groups.

Data from the agency shows nearly 10,000 infections in 2013.

CDC officials expected TB numbers would rise.

However, the 2023 count “was a little more than was expected,” Dr. Philip LoBue, director of the agency’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, told The Associated Press.

The new CDC statistics are not a count of how many people were newly infected in 2023, but rather of how many people developed a cough or other symptoms and were diagnosed.

An estimated 85% of the people counted in 2023 were infected at least a year or two earlier and had what’s called latent TB.

Latent TB is when the bacterium enters the body and hibernates in the lungs or other parts of the body.

Experts estimate as many as 13 million Americans have latent TB and are not contagious.

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“Although TB incidence in the United States is among the lowest in the world and most U.S. residents are at minimal risk, TB continues to cause substantial global morbidity and mortality,” the CDC says.

The CDC describes TB as “one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers.”

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called “Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” the CDC says.

The bacterium usually targets the lungs but can also attack other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.

Symptoms of TB disease in the lungs include chest pains and a prolonged cough, sometimes with blood.

Other symptoms include weakness or fatigue, weight loss, fever, and loss of appetite.

Cases declined sharply at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

However, cases have been rising since.

“This post-pandemic increase in U.S. cases highlights the importance of continuing to engage communities with higher TB rates and their medical providers in TB elimination efforts and strengthening the capacity in public health programs to carry out critical disease control and prevention strategies,” the CDC said.

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